No, it’s not The Incentives—it’s you

There’s a narrative I find kind of troubling, but that unfortunately seems to be growing more common in science. The core idea is that the mere existence of perverse incentives is a valid and sufficient reason to knowingly behave in an antisocial way, just as long as one first acknowledges the existence of those perverse … Continue reading No, it’s not The Incentives—it’s you

If we already understood the brain, would we even know it?

The question posed in the title is intended seriously. A lot of people have been studying the brain for a long time now. Most of these people, if asked a question like “so when are you going to be able to read minds?”, will immediately scoff and say something to the effect of we barely … Continue reading If we already understood the brain, would we even know it?

Neurohackademy 2018: A wrap-up

It’s become something of a truism in recent years that scientists in many fields find themselves drowning in data. This is certainly the case in neuroimaging, where even small functional MRI datasets typically consist of several billion observations (e.g., 100,000 points in the brain, each measured at 1,000 distinct timepoints, in each of 20 subjects). … Continue reading Neurohackademy 2018: A wrap-up

The great European capitals of North America

There are approximately 25 communities named Athens in North America. I say “approximately”, because it depends on how you count. Many of the American Athenses are unincorporated communities, and rely for their continued existence not on legal writ, but on social agreement or collective memory. Some no longer exist at all, having succumbed to the turbulence of … Continue reading The great European capitals of North America

Yes, your research is very noble. No, that’s not a reason to flout copyright law.

Scientific research is cumulative; many elements of a typical research project would not and could not exist but for the efforts of many previous researchers. This goes not only for knowledge, but also for measurement. In much of the clinical world–and also in many areas of “basic” social and life science research–people routinely save themselves … Continue reading Yes, your research is very noble. No, that’s not a reason to flout copyright law.

memories of your father

This is fiction. Well, sort of. “What’s the earliest memory you have of your father,” Baruch asks me. He’s leaning over the counter in his shop, performing surgery on an iPhone battery with a screwdriver. “I don’t have any memories of my father,” I say. Baruch drops his scalpel. “No memories,” he lets out a … Continue reading memories of your father

Why I still won’t review for or publish with Elsevier–and think you shouldn’t either

In 2012, I signed the Cost of Knowledge pledge, and stopped reviewing for, and publishing in, all Elsevier journals. In the four years since, I’ve adhered closely to this policy; with a couple of exceptions (see below), I’ve turned down every review request I’ve received from an Elsevier-owned journal, and haven’t sent Elsevier journals any … Continue reading Why I still won’t review for or publish with Elsevier–and think you shouldn’t either

There is no “tone” problem in psychology

Much ink has been spilled in the last week or so over the so-called “tone” problem in psychology, and what to do about it. I speak here, of course, of the now infamous (and as-yet unpublished) APS Observer column by APS Past President Susan Fiske, in which she argues rather strenuously that psychology is in danger of … Continue reading There is no “tone” problem in psychology

The Great Minds Journal Club discusses Westfall & Yarkoni (2016)

[Editorial note: The people and events described here are fictional. But the paper in question is quite real.] “Dearly Beloved,” The Graduate Student began. “We are gathered here to–” “Again?” Samantha interrupted. “Again with the Dearly Beloved speech? Can’t we just start a meeting like a normal journal club for once? We’re discussing papers here, … Continue reading The Great Minds Journal Club discusses Westfall & Yarkoni (2016)

Neurosynth is joining the Elsevier family

[Editorial note: this was originally posted on April 1, 2016. April 1 is a day marked by a general lack of seriousness. Interpret this post accordingly.] As many people who follow this blog will be aware, much of my research effort over the past few years has been dedicated to developing Neurosynth—a framework for large-scale, … Continue reading Neurosynth is joining the Elsevier family